Kılıçdaroğlu: I might visit Demirtaş in prison, he’s a respectable politician

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Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of Turkey's main opposition party, the Republican People's Party (CHP) / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

Breaking his months-long silence about the arrest of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-Chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said Demirtaş is a respectable politician and that he might visit him in prison.

Demirtaş was arrested in November 2016 along with several other party deputies including the other co-chairperson, Figen Yüksekdağ, on terror charges.

“If circumstances permit, why not [visit him]. He is a respectable politician elected by the people, and he won people’s admiration [when he ran for the presidency in 2014]. Demirtaş is someone who has distanced himself from terrorism: He has made explicit statements about this [against terrorism]. I have told the parliament speaker that I don’t find the jailing of an elected politician to be right,” he said on CNN Türk on Wednesday night.

Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks came in the wake of the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu on Wednesday. The arrest of Berberoğlu, who would normally enjoy parliamentary immunity, was possible because the CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had lent support to a proposal submitted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to remove deputies’ immunity from prosecution last year.

The immunity of all deputies who face probes was lifted in May 2016. Currently, 11 HDP deputies are in jail on charges of terrorist links.

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